Kidswear industry insiders share their predictions for the top trends in the market for spring 20 and beyond.
Kelly Bray, childrenswear buyer, Selfridges
One of the top kidswear trends I predict for spring 20 are bold colours and bright neons. We will see 1980s and 1990s nostalgia really take hold with tie-dye, trompe l’oeil prints, block colour and even perspex accessories and bucket hats.
I’m excited to see the mini-me trend develop further for both boys and girls, as it shows no sign of slowing down. For example, Les Coyotes de Paris, whose kidswear we will introduce to Selfridges this season, started out making beautiful ready-to-wear for women. Menswear label Prévu has been equally successful at venturing into kidswear.
One thing we always have in mind at Selfridges when we look at bringing in new brands is sustainability, so we take a brand’s impact on the environment and the people who work for them very seriously.
Not only is this important to us as a business, but we also see a shift in consumer behaviour that indicates greater concern for eco-conscious issues. Brands such as Liewood, Organic Zoo and The Bonnie Mob are great examples that we stock.
The current popularity of streetwear across both women’s and men’s wear, the new-found confidence in femininity that we see in the womenswear market and a growing desire for sustainably, means clothing trends across the board will translate well into kidswear over the coming seasons.
The kidswear market and consumer needs are developing faster than ever. Kids are given more freedom of expression and are comfortable creating their own style. Kidswear is becoming what kids and teens themselves want, rather than what parents want, which makes the market less traditional and more responsive to trends.
We are also witnessing a shift towards more sustainable consumer behaviour and lifestyle choices, as customers ask for sustainable brands and products. Sustainability is key to everything we do at Selfridges, and this season will there will be some amazing projects and launches across several departments, including kidswear.
New brands that we will bring into Selfridges for girls this season include The Middle Daughter and Liberated Folk.
Looking ahead to autumn 20, the winter season means the party season, so [when we do our buying] we will be looking for some amazing occasion pieces and accessories, while outerwear will of course be important, too.
Marc Granditer, Base Fashion
We don’t see any major new trends [for spring 20], but certain high-end brands [such as Kenzo and Stone Island] are taking their kids’ collections more seriously, and the kids’ market is maturing into a serious focus for many retailers.
Shoppers are now looking for relatable clothing for their children, hence the popularity of the mini-me style. Kids want contemporary labels and styles that they see adults wearing.
Moncler, Gucci, Stone Island, Hugo Boss and Kenzo are among our best performers, and brand awareness, a unique USP, high-quality product and design are key factors when we look for new additions.
Looking forward to autumn 20, we are always seeking to elevate our selection and to work closely with brands to achieve improved sell-throughs at full price, and to share exciting marketing campaigns with key labels.
Danny Shelvey, founder, Kids Cavern
Speaking to my buyers about the state of the sector at the moment, there are no real radical changes to the trends that we’re seeing at the minute.
Our store sells to children up to age 16 – so we see a range of different trends being popular. For mothers shopping for younger children, our stores are like mini-me versions of the regular ones for adults. In that younger market we’re anticipating that the matching look in all the super-brands [such as Gucci and Fendi] that we stock will still be popular.
Designer trainers are one category that is doing very well for us, in particular. Gucci, DSquared2, Lanvin and Fendi are particularly popular.
We’ve also had a good season with outerwear this year – people are spending a lot of money on coats as a statement piece to really make an impact. This is something that we expect to be the case again in autumn 20. Canada Goose, Moose Knuckles and Moncler all are popular brands.
Polo tops have waned in popularity recently, and instead we’re seeing that round neck T-shirts with graphic prints are on the rise. The trend began with Givenchy’s “Bambi” print, but now all the brands are doing similar statement T-shirts with graphics such as animals on them. Marcelo Burlon County of Milan’s styles are particularly popular.
Overall, we see the big-name designers performing very well. Fendi, Gucci and Balmain are all very popular but different brands perform well at different stores. Not everyone can afford the super luxury labels, and we find that slightly lower priced names such as Hugo Boss, Diesel, Kenzo and Ellesse are proving a hit.
Dina Mood, head buyer, Childrensalon
With the season changing for spring 20, bright colours such as yellows, pinks and oranges take the lead. The sports luxe trend with its shimmery fabrics and sequins doesn’t seem to be slowing down. More classical looks, such as nautical reds, blues and Breton stripes will always be popular.
I believe shoppers are becoming savvier by the day and expect only the best from ecommerce websites.
We carry more than 260 brands on Childrensalon.com. The well-established designer names such as Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, Fendi, Armani, to name a few, are ever so popular with our global audience, but we’re lucky enough to be able to invest in up-and-coming names too.
We are very excited about the new additions joining the Childrensalon offering in spring 20: Bonpoint, Veja, Amiki, Nessi Byrd and Vilebrequin are among the labels now live on Childrensalon.com.
Compared with a few years ago, there’s been a massive influx of high fashion houses starting kids’ collections, whether this is in-house or licensed to a distribution specialist. The growth of the kidswear industry is exponential and I believe it goes to show the increasing attention parents are putting into the way kids look.
The rise of the Instagram era, where everything is instantly shared, demands the latest fashion. Celebrities are often seen “twinning” and therefore kids are wearing the same brands as the parents do.
Tess Gee, co-founder, Kate Heaton, buying director, Our Kid
We’ll be seeing a lot of colour and pimped up pastels for spring 20. It feels like a very playful spirit will define the season.
Buy once, buy better is a very significant consumer buying trend with sustainability continuing to be a buzz word. We saw a lot of brands shouting about their eco credentials at the spring 20 trade shows.
While we don’t see our customers making decisions based solely on the use of a recycled fabric, we do see increased value being placed on the provenance of our collections and the impact they make on the world around them.
Boyswear is calling out for a hero brand! It’s been ages since we got excited about a boy-specific collection, but the return of London based kidswear brand Ruff & Huddle for spring 20 could be a game-changer for the coming seasons.
Brands such as Blade & Rose, Grass & Air and Organic Zoo consistently perform for us. They’re not necessarily breaking fashion rules, but they give customers what they need and spark a reaction, whether it’s through thoughtful design, durability or strong use of colour.
We’re very interested in Sheffield-based brand Pippins Denim and will be making a beeline for them at [autumn 20 trade show] Playtime Paris, as its collection is not reliant on seasons.
Our own label [Grass & Air] was the surprise star of our Christmas sales period. It’s given us the confidence to focus more time on developing the collection, so that we have a wider colour palette for the coming months and hopefully more designs that convey the Our Kid brand, and its Manchester heritage.
Over the past 12 months we’ve adopted a very lean approach to our buying and, from conversations with other retailers, I don’t think we’re alone. It’s no longer financially viable to speculate huge budgets on seasonal clothing. As small independents, we need to understand what is selling now and respond to that accordingly.
With this in mind, core collections are vital as the buying landscape shifts. Our customers will always be enticed by something a little frivolous that connects with them emotionally but, at the same time, there needs to be a sense that they are buying something special that can’t be easily found on the high street.
A small, curated brand with provenance is always going to stand-out against a collection that is seemingly endless on the rails and ultimately ends up in Sale.
Elizabeth Cliff, head of childrenswear at Harrods
Brand logos are still undoubtedly the top trend for us, and those that are synonymous with the trend, such as Gucci, Balmain and Givenchy, continue to make it a powerful feature of their spring 20 collections.
Burberry for example, has its new monogram logo featured in the childrenswear collection for the first time and we expect to see this trend continue to grow.
Tie-dye and cycling shorts, which have recently been prevalent in womenswear, are finally coming through to the childrenswear offering. Both trends are geared towards the teenage market, which is an area that we are really focusing on developing.
Some customers are looking for branded items so that their child represents their own personal style. Generally, if a customer loves a specific brand’s collection, they will often buy into the bag, shoes and ready-to-wear options and the demand for matching those purchases with the childrenswear offering is increasingly becoming more popular.
However, there are some shoppers who want to dress their children in a more traditional sense. They look for modern takes on classic styles in brands like Bonpoint, Caramel and Il Gufo.
The market is growing, as there is so much more choice now. There are so many more designers doing children’s collections than five years ago, which creates competition and creativity.
Parents concerned about the environment also want to invest in high-quality, long-lasting pieces than can be passed down, and are trying to move away from fast fashion if they can.
We are incredibly excited to introduce Needle & Thread as a UK Department store exclusive for spring 20. We are hosting a pop up with the brand in May, featuring lots of exact mini-me versions of our best-selling women’s dresses, just in time for wedding season.
We have also recently launched Brunello Cucinelli Kids exclusively in the UK with a beautiful new boutique in our Mini Superbrands room, which has been an instant hit with the Harrods customer.
If a brand is doing something different or something to mirror adults’ trends, which no one else is providing, then we are always interested in exploring those avenues.
While we love big designers, we also work closely with smaller brands that might not be household names, but who are still doing something exciting, such as Gardner & the Gang, Butter Super Soft, Rockahula Kids and Bari Lynn.
As we slowly see a shift away from the streetwear trend, and a resurgence of more classic or traditional items, it will be interesting to see how some of the brands interpret that.
The great thing about childrenswear is that brands are not afraid of colour and, so far, we have seen a lot of brightness for autumn 20 in the shape of neon, hot pink and royal blue, so it looks like it should be another season of exciting collections.
Jennifer Bolton, head of design, Frugi
Frugi welcomes shoppers to Japan for spring 20. The collection takes inspiration from the Japanese concept of ikigai, meaning “a reason for being”.
At Frugi, we develop fun and colourful clothing for boys and girls made from soft organic cottons and recycled plastic for outerwear. Although not a trend but a practice, we only use sustainable and organic fabrics and are continually developing our supply chain to ensure this stays a focus for the brand.
More and more of the pieces are gender neutral for spring 20, such as the Jude Jumper, Snuggle Suit and Snuggle Crawlers in the Sika Deer print.
Our customers are looking for bright, colourful pieces that are up to the daily challenge that little ones put their clothing through. All Frugi children’s clothes are made for durability, such as patches on the knees, so that they can be handed down and worn by others.
Autumn 20 will see us expand our technical range of outerwear, allowing kids to be kids outdoors no matter what the season. Knitwear has also had a big focus, with lots of cosy styles using various techniques.
Mats Nilsson, UK managing director, Polarn O Pyret
Polarn O Pyret’s focus will always be sustainability. Our spring 20 collection is made from 100% organic cotton with outerwear made from recycled bottles.
Consumers are expecting ethical production and more transparency in the items. They want to feel confident in their purchase – that what they’re buying is made in safe and fair conditions, with sustainably sourced materials that are designed to stand the test of time.
Every garment is designed to last [to be worn by] at least three kids, this means our pieces need to transcend seasonal trends. Our clothes have a balance of unique prints, classic styles and bright colours - the theme for spring 20 is Eastern Fusion.
For autumn 20, we’re excited for our outerwear to take a leap forward with new technical garments that grow with the child. More will be revealed later in the year, but our priority is to encourage consumers and competitors to reduce consumption with clothing that lasts.